Here are some of the best practices for productive 1-on-1 meetings. Collaborate on agenda
You'd rarely have a productive meeting if none of the participants has a topic to discuss.
That's why it's essential to collaborate and prepare at least some agenda items before the meeting. Ask another participant a few hours/days before the meeting to think about what does (s)he wants to talk about.
Some of the common one-on-one meeting topics might be:
- Get to know each other better;
- To discuss issues or blockers;
- To share feedback on performance/communication;
- Share feedback on the team/organization;
- Discuss career direction/growth opportunities;
Having a shared document, like a 1-on-1 meeting notes document that is linked to the calendar event, is very helpful to collaborate easily on the 1-on-1 agenda. Check out the list of 100 most popular one-on-one meeting questions
to help you get started.
Another practice you can have is to start building the next meeting agenda at the end of the current meeting. Luckily, Plai will already automatically create the draft for the next meeting for you (based on your calendar event) so that you don't need to manage it manually. Come prepared
You might have a busy schedule and a lot of stuff on your plate. But it doesn't permit you to come unprepared for your one-on-one meetings. Review your previous meeting notes and complete the action items assigned to you (if you had any).
Review the project progress or the objectives the other person is working on. So that you don't need to ask a trivial question, "How's the progress on X?" It would allow you to spend less time on the progress check-in and more on the important topics.
To help you get started, we prepared a list of temples and one-on-one questions
you can begin with. Listen actively
Remember that your primary job as a manager is to listen and help. A good one-on-one meeting is when you talk less and listen carefully most of the time. one-on-ones are not like most of the other meetings. Spend some time to get into the right mindset, connect with the help of the icebreakers and personal questions in the beginning so that you both can build trust and open up.
Show that you care by listening actively. Make your one-on-ones insightful by focusing on your colleague and genuinely try to understand their side and learn something new from them.
Some simple tips to help you listen actively:
- Avoid staring into your phone or computer most of the time.
- Don't try to fill the silent gaps immediately.
- Don't forget to follow-up on the critical points (take notes!).
When you write notes, you retain information much better, so you're able to make better decisions.
Having notes will give you a solid start before the next conversation, you won't forget to follow-up on essential points. It will allow you to review your previous conversation with that person and understand how the person progressed over time.
Notes also help you capture the action steps you agree on during the meeting, and keep track of them later.
Writing and sharing notes with your participants shows the importance of the meetings, displays a public commitment. It fosters accountability for both sides.
Some people prefer writing notes by hand, others — in the online editor or Google Docs. Some might even prefer to record video follow-ups (for example, with StoryXpress
). Plai 1:1 meetings
feature can help you write and track 1:1 meeting agenda and notes. Keep conversation casual
Don't forget that this guide (and any other) is just a recommendation. Don't stick strictly to any template or any list of questions. Each team and situation is unique, never forget that.
Keep the conversation natural, as it flows. When you focus on your team member, you'll understand what the person is concerned about. That way, you'll know how to talk to her/him, what to discuss now, and what later.
Don't turn your one-on-ones into yet another to-do item that you'll chase through in 30 mins and check off from your to-do list. Treat it as a valuable investment of your time as a manager (and one of the most important ones). ⭐ Pro tip
: Casual 1-on-1s in a conversational tone yield the best results.